Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

3 minute read
Why Do We Celebrate Labour Day

Also known as May Day, Labor Day is celebrated worldwide as a holiday for the working class that works every day to keep things running smoothly. Marked as a public holiday in over 80 countries around the world, Labor Day commemorates the success and struggles of the labor movement. Read on to know its significance, history, and more. 

1 May 2022SundayMost Indian states
Labor day
Source: English Jagran

History of Labor Day

On 21 April 1856, Australian stonemasons in Victoria undertook a mass stoppage as part of the eight-hour workday movement. It became a yearly commemoration, inspiring American workers to have their first stoppage and May 1 was chosen to be International Workers’ Day or Labors Day to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago, United States of America. 

On May 1, 1886, a union of workers announced a general strike demanding fair treatment of workers and an 8-hour workday in Chicago. The strike, unfortunately, turned violent on May 4 as an unidentified person threw a bomb which forced the police to respond by firing on the workers. This event led to the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians, sixty police officers were injured, as were one hundred and fifteen civilians.

During the Cold War, Labor Day became a significant event for large military parades which were attended by top leaders. It became an enduring symbol of that phase. To date, countries such as China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and former Soviet Union countries signify May 1 as an official holiday featuring military parades on the day. 

May Day, also known as Labour Day or International Workers’ Day, is a national holiday in the majority of European countries, including Sweden, France, Poland, Finland, Norway, Spain, Germany, and Italy. The day is also observed in Panama, Cuba, Mexico, Guyana, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. 

YouTube: History

Significance of Labor Day

The union strike of 1886 in the United State of America gave birth to a worldwide movement for workers and May 1 became an annual event for workers to speak up against the industrial exploitation, unfair treatment, paid leaves, proper wages, and breaks for the workforce. And to date, the majority of countries around the world celebrate Labor Day on May 1.

YouTube: Simpleshow Foundation

Labor Day in India

In 1923, India celebrated its first Labor Day in Chennai. This day was observed by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan when communist leader Malayapuram Singaravelu Chettiar asked the Government of India to consider May 1 as a national holiday to symbolize the efforts and work of the workers. May 1 or Labor Day is also known as Kamgar Divas, Kamgar Din, and Antrarashtriya Shramik Divas in India.

Did you know?  May 1 is also celebrated as Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day in India.

Labor Day in other countries

Labor Day is celebrated on May 1 in the majority of countries except for the United States of America and Canada where Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September.

The commitment and contribution of the working class play a vital role in a nation’s growth. Labor Day recognizes past labor struggles against worker exploitation including lengthy workdays, poor working conditions, unfair wages, and abuse at the workplace.  We hope that this blog was insightful enough to help you understand the significance of Labor Day. 

Also Read: What are human rights?

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